2010-08-06 / Columnists

The Inner Voice

Commentary by Marilyn Gelfand

What is most important to you? Would you think of peace or happiness or challenges? Wealth and security is also important. Wisdom is what others look for. But in general, our society focuses a lot on happiness and people believe they are entitled to be happy. Almost any action is acceptable if it creates happiness. If one is not happy, we are told to change it so we can be happy. We also work hard to ensure that our children will be happy, and try to help parents find happiness in their later years. It’s an integral part of the way we do things.

Nature doesn’t seem to make happiness for each individual its priority at all. We can think of all the creatures being pounded by the waves along the beach or all the insects that give us all bites. Why do people in America think happiness is the reason to be alive? It seems we can learn so much about ourselves and others in the society in which we live as well as observe all the natural forces around us as we live a full lifetime. The natural way seems to be one of experiencing life in various contrasting forms. We have to feel happy and sad, calm and anxious, angry and peaceful, etc. so we can know what each is and make wise choices. It is by experiencing life in all its forms that we appreciate what we know, enjoy and desire.

It is our own mistaken idea that life is meant for our pleasure and happiness that creates a lot of unhappiness through unrealistic expectations. It is vital to experience all emotions as part of life, and enjoy the good times as they occur. But we should not feel cheated when we don’t live life getting everything we want as if we ourselves were in control of all the events of life.. kind of imagining ourselves and our own personal scripts as if we were God. Like the waves on the beach, always changing in force and shape, we have to know that it is important to experience life in all its variety as it gives us the wisdom we need and probably would not have chosen to learn voluntarily.

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